Global gin brand takes painstaking measures and uses traditional methods to bring back the former paper mill’s beauty
Hamilton, Bermuda, April 21, 2015 — Beyond the peeled paint, crumbled mortar, overgrown vegetation and general neglect, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® design crews could see that Laverstoke Mill, with its Georgian and Victorian architecture, had a good foundation. So when crews approached the renovation of the 170-year-old workers’ cottages, they took extreme care and exercised great patience to return them to their authentic beauty, sustainably.
When Bacardi acquired the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin brand in 1998, the search began for a crowning location to house its newest brand. The Company could have easily chosen a brand new site, but opted to hold out for something more natural and truly befitting of the gin brand that features a medallion with the image of Queen Victoria on its bottle. The Mill’s rich history as a former paper mill that manufactured the watermarked paper used to print the British pound, as well as the Indian rupee, attracted the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE brand team. The team also found that the mill has a royal connection as it played host to several heads of state including the British Prince of Wales and Queen.
Bacardi finally purchased the dilapidated, yet grand, Laverstoke Mill property in 2010. The disused site would serve as an ideal location for the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Distillery and brand visitor center to plant its roots, despite the Mill’s state. The massive renovation project took several years of environmentally sound restoration to redevelop all of its historical structures — approximately 40 in all. This renovation included the workers’ cottages, which once housed the paper mill’s dedicated laborers, who lived, breathed and slept on the property to maximize operational efficiencies.
Back in the day, mill workers paid low rent to live within the picturesque group of buildings located in a semi-rural setting. The workers’ cottages, which the paper mill company subsidized, stand as examples of Victorian philanthropy during a time that predates even the earliest humanitarian groups in England. Nestled within warrens, and the famous Laverstoke Park, the property also features a pond, and a tributary of the River Test, which runs through the campus bringing with it some of the cleanest water in England on the account that it is a chalk-river. The river’s gin-clear waters also likely offered the workers living on the grounds prolific fishing of healthy brown trout as it does today.
Renovation teams took the utmost of care with the cottage-restoration phase of the distillery project. Crews lovingly removed years of caked-on paint, careful with each flint stone and brick in the Laverstoke Mill cottages’ exterior walls. Because of the workers’ cottages age, their special government-protected status and history, only specialized equipment and steam could be used to gently remove the thick veil of paint that shrouded the buildings’ magnificence.
“The entire restoration process took considerable time as the refurbishment followed strict heritage guidelines, including the mandated use of traditional methods to restore the buildings’ brickwork,” says Will Brix, General Manager of the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Distillery site. Inch by inch, pressurized steam gradually melted away the flaking exterior to reveal the hidden beauty. Next, expert masons with years of experience used a special mortar mixture to dress the flint and reinforce the cottages’ exteriors for centuries to come as they hand-laid new flint where needed.
Ever mindful of the Bacardi Limited “Good Spirited” environmental sustainability initiative, a companywide program to address three main areas within all of its brands including responsible sourcing, global packaging and operational efficiencies, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE is well on its way to help the Company reach its vision of a net zero impact on the environment. With the Laverstoke Mill distillery renovation complete, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE has accomplished the monumental, with only the most eco-conscious strategies to build a more sustainable future.
Building on current programs and efficiencies that reduce water and energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, the Bacardi Limited Good Spirited platform reinforces the Company’s years of leadership in corporate social responsibility – and sets specific, new goals in three vital areas:
- Responsible Sourcing: Bacardi strives to obtain all raw materials and packaging from sustainably sourced, renewable or recycled materials while maintaining or enhancing the economic status of growers and suppliers. By 2017, the goal is to obtain 40% of the sugarcane-derived products used to make BACARDÍ premium rums from certified, sustainable sources – and 100% by 2022. This pledge from Bacardi is an industry first.
- Global Packaging: Bacardi commits to use eco-design to craft sustainability into its brand packaging and point-of-sale materials. By 2017, Bacardi plans to reduce the weight of its packaging by 10% and achieve 15% by 2022. Bacardi collaborates with its partners – including glass and paper suppliers – to make packaging more environmentally friendly.
- Operational Efficiencies: Bacardi continues to focus on reducing water use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with a 2017 goal to cut water use by 55% and GHG emissions by 50%. The Company further seeks innovative treatments for water left over from production. In addition, Bacardi aims to eliminate landfill waste at all of its production sites by 2022.
To learn more about Bacardi Limited and its “Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future” environmental initiative across the entire Bacardi family of premium spirits brands, visit http://www.bacardilimited.com/good-spirited.
About BOMBAY SAPPHIRE
BOMBAY SAPPHIRE is the fastest growing of the major premium gin brands and the world’s No. 1 premium gin by value. Based on a secret 1761 recipe, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin is created by perfectly balancing a unique combination of 10 hand-selected exotic botanicals from around the world. The natural flavors of the botanicals are captured through a delicate distillation process called Vapour Infusion, which results in the tantalizing, smooth and complex taste that is BOMBAY SAPPHIRE.
The BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® brand is part of the portfolio of Bacardi Limited, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited.
About Bacardi Limited
Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held spirits company in the world, produces and markets internationally recognized spirits and wines. The Bacardi brand portfolio comprises more than 200 brands and labels, including BACARDÍ® rum, GREY GOOSE® vodka, DEWAR’S® Blended Scotch whisky, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, MARTINI® vermouth and Italian sparkling wines, CAZADORES® 100% blue agave tequila, and other leading and emerging brands including WILLIAM LAWSON’S® Blended Scotch whisky, ERISTOFF® vodka, and ST-GERMAIN® elderflower liqueur.
Founded 153 years ago in Santiago de Cuba on February 4, 1862, family-owned Bacardi manufactures its brands at 29 facilities and sells in more than 160 countries. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited. http://www.bacardilimited.com